It cannot be the goal of this blog to address the reasons and effects of any feeling of loneliness, of course: that must remain in the hands of psychologists or therapists. However, I would like to highlight some of the effects that loneliness has on clutter and how such a person would be affected by clutter differently from someone who is not feeling lonely. Also, how would loneliness affect their ability to deal with clutter? All valid questions to look into, but for now let’s focus on some of the differences that clutter has on the lonely single person at home.
First of all, loneliness is not the same as being alone! Lonely people don’t necessarily stay at home more often than others, but when they do, they are likely to have fewer visitors as would otherwise be the case. That, in turn, makes it more probable that they care a little less for their living environment: maybe there is less of a focus on dusting, tidying things away, generally maintaining the place – let’s not forget that a lot of cleaning and tidying is done for the benefit of presenting an outside image that is attractive to those who come to visit. If there are fewer visitors – or none at all – then these things become less important, or are forgotten altogether as the loneliness level increases.
If memory serves, we have all been there: everyone has gone away for a couple of days, you get the house to yourself and things get left lying around for the time being, until that last minute clean-up before the place needs to be presentable again. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that as this is a temporary thing, and – more importantly – it is understood to be just that, temporary. Feeling lonely and believing that there won’t be any visitors anytime soon changes two important things: you’ll be more likely to let things slide in the first place, and there is no imminent deadline in sight anywhere. If things are left alone for a period of time, you’ll eventually pass a point of no return where it becomes virtually impossible to change direction and get things organised again.
Add to this that loneliness feels like an ordeal that will never end. Given this mindset, it stands to reason that making any changes will be very hard, indeed. The truth of the matter is this: clutter is affected by your emotional state and in the case of loneliness, that state has to be improved either along with the decluttering efforts, or before the first steps at decluttering and organising is taken.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.